Quick Thoughts on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Curious Incident

In one word: Captivating.

After having read two Victorian novels (Jane Eyre and North and South), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was a welcomed juxtaposition with its rapid pace and beautifully stylized first person voice.

From its very first paragraphs, its obvious that Christopher, the novel’s protagonist, is different from the “normal/average” people he encounters. Many have speculated that he has a high-functioning autism, but even Haddon, the author himself, has said the actual disorder is meant to be vague. Regardless, his quirks really help flesh him out as a character and give the writing its own unique rhythm. And Christopher even gives the reader pictures, so one can more easily glimpse inside the way his mind works. These pictures were a wonderful touch. Sometimes ideas like this can feel gimmicky, but Haddon uses the pictures sparingly and only to add to the text itself. Really, the style of this book is a great accomplishment. Through mostly simple language and pictures, Haddon was able to create a complex book that felt unlike anything I’ve read before.  The subtlety of Christopher’s language about his emotions made the feelings pop off the page – you really had to work with him to truly understand how he might be feeling at any given point in time; after a while, you begin to learn more of what he really means and know how frightened or happy he must have been.

The book’s plot moved seamlessly. While Christopher does interject with seemingly random thoughts about anything from colors of cars, to explanations of math problems, the actual meat of what’s moving the action is clear-cut and flows from one event to the next. While the plot does get messier (in a good way) as one learns more about the characters, its clearness helps put all the focus on Christopher and the way in which he recounts his daily activities, fears, interests, and the conversations he has.

If you’re looking for a captivating and easy read, with tons of depth, and a unique style of writing, look no further than The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. It has undoubtedly made a big impression on me, both as a writer and as a person.

Update #1

Unfortunately, I have not been doing a good job with keeping up with this blog as of late. But, just like most good things, bad things can come to an end too. What better way to proclaim the end of my absence than an update post? That’s called making a change; or, not being lazy/forgetful (but I prefer “making a change”).

For the third summer in a row, I worked at a local child care center where I hang out with 5-9 year olds, making sure – for the most part – they don’t die. While it’s a very rewarding job and there some great kids there (AKA my favorites), I was disappointed in not having an opportunity to pursue experiences in a more literary career based setting (i.e. publishing, literary agencies, communications).

I did attempt to make this wish a reality earlier this year, applying to both the Cleveland Magazine and Cleveland Museum of Art for an internship. However, both places seemed to ignore my application. I called the Cleveland Magazine several times and they never returned my call. And the Cleveland Art Museum gave me a confirmation email about my materials being received, and even replied to one of my inquiries, but alas, they never told me either way. Apparently, the professional world in Cleveland is a very passive place.

Because of all this, I couldn’t help but feel my professional development was halted this summer. I often felt inadequate in comparison with some of my friends who were off pursuing incredible opportunities in their field while I went on a field trip to the Zoo with a bunch of elementary school kids. This feeling of inadequacy can certainly weigh a lot at times. I even remember joking with my mom: “Will you still love me if I’m a failure English Major who can’t get a job?” She said yes. Hopefully I won’t have to know if she was telling the truth.

Through the culmination of several events which led to a serious amount of self-reflection, I realized I have two choices. One: I let it get me down, cower away from new opportunities, and become complacent in my development as a writer and professional. Or two: I digest my feelings and use my desire to better myself to do just that. Spoiler alert: I chose the latter option.

In doing this, I’ve been asking friends from school who live in the New York City area if there would be any way they could house me for next summer. To my surprise, many have been very supportive. While I still need to actually get an internship, knowing that I can look in NYC is a huge momentum booster. It’s relieving to be able to consider more than 75% of the opportunities I find rather than sift through 99% of them to find an opportunity in the northeastern Ohio area (which could still, even after all that sorting, be completely wrong for me).

This upcoming summer, it is my goal to secure an internship in New York with a literary agency, an area of the publishing process which I find most intriguing as of now. I’m very excited to try to make this happen!

 

If you have any tips or words of encouragement (I love attention), please feel free to drop a comment!